Attributable to the Spokesperson of the High Representative for the
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
on the Anti-Muslim Attacks in Western France
New York – 13 April 2021
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, strongly condemns acts of anti-Muslim hatred that took place in Nantes and Rennes, Western France over the past few days. The High-Representative denounces the graffiti found on the walls of the Avicenne Islamic cultural center in the western French city of Rennes. According to news reports, the hateful slogans were discovered on Sunday on a side building used as a prayer room and while prayers were taking place. Earlier, in the neighboring city of Nantes, the door of the Arrahma mosque was subject to an arson attack which destroyed it.
Mr. Moratinos states that such despicable acts are an affront to international human rights laws and the values and principles the United Nations uphold, particularly the freedom of religion or belief. He adds that now more than ever, unity and solidarity should be guiding our actions as we stand firmly against the surge in anti-Muslim hatred, stigma, ethnonationalism as well as hate speech targeting vulnerable populations based on their religion or belief.
Mr. Moratinos recalls the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by UNAOC, and encourages governments and relevant stakeholders to support the implementation of its recommendations, which emphasize the universality of religious sites as symbols of our shared humanity, history, and traditions.
Mr. Moratinos stresses that mutual respect, interfaith harmony, and peaceful co-existence are attainable when there is broad space for everyone to freely and safely practice the rituals of their religions or beliefs. He extends his solidarity with the Muslim community in France and beyond and wishes them a blessed and peaceful Ramadan.
Follow/join UNAOC’s Global Call to Action #forSafeWorship.
Contact: Ms. Nihal Saad, UNAOC Chief of Cabinet and Spokesperson for the High Representative, firstname.lastname@example.org.